Objects viewed from a distance may be more frightening than they appear…a lesson that I learned very well a couple of weeks ago at the North Carolina Whitewater Center (http://www.usnwc.org). I learned it at the expense of my big mouth, of course. What is new, you ask. Tell me about it. Sandra and I were there with a group of friends and we started the day with lunch on the second story balcony. Over lunch we had a bird’s eye view of people jumping off a 40ft platform. Pretty entertaining. I couldn’t understand why they were screaming and being so dramatic. I mean they were strapped in with a harness and the fall was controlled by a pulley mechanism, so it didn’t appear that they were falling very fast. I vocalized all of the above. Then we finished lunch and I strapped on the harness and climbed up 40ft. The employee hooked my harness up to the drop rope and asked me to walk up to and stand on the red dots at the very edge of the platform. Still full of myself, I had no problem up to this point…then I stepped on the red dots and looked down. Oh my…40 ft is 4 stories high. Four story buildings are actually pretty tall…too tall to jump off and survive. I looked back at the employee guy. I was momentarily paralyzed, but I knew I had to jump. My big mouth had already written the checks. I asked him if he would push me. No, something about liability and lawyers. Isn’t everything these days? Then I reminded myself that I’m strapped in, connected to a rope and I’ve never heard of anyone dying on this evil contraption. Feeling reassured, I bent my knees, threw my arms out like a 747 and jumped off. Man, I was so wrong about the falling speed. It’s much faster than it appeared from a distance. Or maybe it’s my heavy, low center of gravity that propelled me like an egg falling off my kitchen counter. Don’t you be calling me Humpty Dumpty. I landed fine, thank you…if you consider landing on my backside fine…but I didn’t crack anything. The ungraceful splash was a bit embarrassing, so I picked myself up and climbed the 40 ft and did it again. Why not? By now, I’m the bravest man on the planet.
As children of God who acknowledge Him, seek Him, praise Him and live for Him, we should be just as brave in our everyday pursuits. In the same way that the harness and rope had a firm grip on me, God has each one of His children in His hands protecting, guarding and loving. We may get scraped and bruised some, but we have the assurance that “all things work out for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Once I got comfortable Saturday at the Whitewater Center with the fact that the harness securely had me, I was able to really attack the obstacle course, another one of their insane death traps that is 20 ft off the ground! I realized that if I messed up and slipped, I couldn’t fall and hurt myself. That was liberating. I think God wants us to pursue Him and serve Him and others with a reckless abandonment in this same way. If we fail, He has us and will use our mess up for good in some way and in the process teach us valuable lessons that can’t be learned sitting on the side lines. “8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. As a Christ-follower, you’ve already won the race. You can’t be defeated, so be brave and enjoy running up the score.